MUKILTEO — It was a game of musical chairs for the four Mukilteo City Council seats up for grabs.
Several switcheroos happened at the Snohomish County elections division heading into the final hour of filing May 17.
Two candidates who are married wound up competing for the same space, which might work better at home than in politics. One has since dropped out.
Two clashing incumbents are facing off for the same seat.
Meantime, a controversial candidate who lost in the last council election, despite lots of yard signs and name recognition, is up against two other novices.
And the former Mukilteo mayor who lost to the current Mukilteo mayor entered a council race.
Had enough? There’s more. If a new ballot measure goes through, the current mayor will be out of a job after the election.
Such is the state of politics in the nonpartisan city by the sea.
Council candidates run for positions at large, rather than being bound by district.
So anything can happen.
Who’s on first?
Many of the names and faces are familiar.
At one point, Riaz Khan and his wife, Ayesha Khan, were both down to compete for the same seat.
She dropped out on Monday.
Ayesha Khan explained.
“My husband and I planned to run for different positions,” she wrote in a messaging app. “I chose pos 5 and my husband was going for pos 4. About 20 minutes before the closing of (the) filing session incumbent Richard Emery filed for pos 4 and it doesn’t make any sense to compete with the incumbent. Therefore, I requested my husband to take charge of pos 5.”
Riaz Khan is seeking the Position 5 seat now held by incumbent Councilman Scott Whelpley, who decided to run for a different seat. Khan faces Christopher Maddux and James Yoo. Both Yoo and Riaz Khan have made previous tries for City Council.
In another twist, Whelpley and Richard Emery, who rarely agree on the direction of the city at meetings, will compete against each other for Position 4. Charles Eakins is the third contender for that seat.
That Position 4 seat became open when Councilman Steve Schmalz decided not to run after two terms in office.
Controversial aerospace executive Peter Zieve first filed in Position 4.
“I really wanted to run against Peter,” Emery said, “to make sure he didn’t get on the council.”
In the last hour of filing, Zieve withdrew and switched to Position 6. Other contenders for that seat are Exekiel Aranez and Elisabeth Crawford. Amy Schaper filed but later withdrew.
Emery said he didn’t particularly want to run against Whelpley, “but I’m OK with it.”
Former Mayor Joe Marine is trying to get back into politics. He’s competing for the same open city council seat as Kristina Melnichenko and Tina Over, who ran unsuccessfully for a council seat in 2017.
Zieve ran against incumbent Bob Champion for Position 2 in 2017. Champion has another two years left on his term.
The primary is Aug. 6 and the general election is Nov. 5.